What is the CARES Act?
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress with overwhelming, bipartisan support and signed into law by President Trump on March 27, 2020. The CARES Act provides stimulus and financial support to many sectors of the economy, including higher education. A portion of the funding package earmarked for colleges and universities is explicitly directed to provide emergency grants to students who were impacted by the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 health emergency.
Who is eligible?
Current degree-seeking students who were enrolled in on-campus classes during the spring 2020 semester (as of March 13, 2020) and are eligible to receive federal financial aid are eligible to request CARES Act funds. Students who meet these criteria must also confirm that they incurred expenses related to the disruption of campus operations.
If you have not filed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and feel you are eligible for federal financial aid, you still have time to complete the FAFSA: https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa. Once you complete the FAFSA, continue to review your financial aid requirements in the Costs and Aid tab of your TUportal because you might have student eligibility requirements to complete before you can request CARES Act funding.
In accordance with guidance from the U.S. Department of Education, international and undocumented students are not eligible to receive CARES Act grants. Please also note that any students who were enrolled in online-only programs prior to the suspension of in-person teaching are not eligible for CARES Act grants.
While we understand that each and every student has experienced an upheaval of their day-to-day life as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to ensure that students with the most need are prioritized for these emergency funds. For this reason, students who received Federal Pell Grants for the spring 2020 semester are being automatically awarded CARES Act grants.
How can Temple students use emergency funds provided through the CARES Act?
As required by the legislation, CARES Act funds may be used only to cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus (this includes expenses such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child-care expenses).
How can students request funding?
Students who are already eligible for federal financial aid based on their 2019-2020 FAFSA can apply for a CARES Act grant using an online form that will be available to eligible students in TUportal.
The deadline to complete the TUportal form to request CARES Act funds is May 15, 2020.
What expenses will be considered in a request for a CARES Act grant?
Expenses you incurred as a result of the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 health emergency, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, healthcare and child care. Here are some examples:
- You lived on campus or used a meal plan, and now you are experiencing housing or food insecurity.
- You routinely used the computer labs to do your schoolwork, but now need a computer to continue your education remotely.
- You needed to purchase Internet access for your home (including a “hotspot” or other equipment).
- You received health services through Student Health Services and now need to seek treatment elsewhere that is not covered by your insurance.
- The childcare center your dependent attended closed and you’ve had to hire alternative care so that you can continue your coursework.
- You incurred transportation expenses returning home or storing your personal belongings because you could not return to campus to retrieve them.
- You incurred nonrefundable expenses related to study abroad travel that was either canceled or shortened unexpectedly.
How much funding can I receive?
Awards will be determined on a case-by-case basis and relative to available funding at the time of the request. Depending on the number of requests received, the expected minimum grant will be $400. Students will be notified of the exact amount in their TUportal student account (TUpay).
When can I expect to receive the funds once I submit my request?
Requests for CARES Act grants will be reviewed following the May 15, 2020 deadline. Once your request is reviewed and approved, you will see the grant disburse through your student account and processed as a refund. If you are already signed up for direct deposit, the funds will be deposited in your account within three to four days. If you are not registered for direct deposit through TUpay, you will receive a paper check in the mail to your permanent address on file with the university. Student Financial Services encourages all students who are eligible for CARES Act funding to sign up for direct deposit in order to receive the funds as quickly as possible.
How will Temple determine which students will receive the funding and the amount of each grant?
Under the CARES Act, institutions must identify students who have incurred expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible students will be notified to complete the form in TUportal.
The amount of each grant will be determined on a case-by-case basis of need and the extent the loss of services impacted the student’s continued pursuit of their education. The minimum grant will vary depending on the number of requests received by is expected to be about $400.
CARES Act grants will be available on a first-come basis and so long as funds are available. Our intention is to assist as many students as possible while being sensitive to need, in accordance with the U.S. Department of Education’s guidance.
Do I have to file the FAFSA to receive funding?
Without the FAFSA on file, we have no way of knowing if you are eligible to participate in federal financial aid programs. The criteria for eligibility include but are not limited to: U.S. citizenship or eligible noncitizen; a valid Social Security number; registration with Selective Service (if the student is male); and a high school diploma, GED, or completion of high school in an approved homeschool setting. Additionally, the student must not be in default or in a loan overpayment and must be making satisfactory academic progress (SAP), or on an approved SAP appeal/plan.
If you do not have a FAFSA on file, we recommend you file the FAFSA now. We will review your financial aid file during the processing of the CARES Act grant request and may request additional documentation so that we can assist you to establish your eligibility.
Can I appeal the outcome of the CARES Act grant request?
No. There are no appeals regarding the decision or the grant amount.
Will the funding be applied against an existing balance owed to the university?
No. The grant will be paid directly to you. It will disburse to your student account as a cash grant without regard to the balance owed. You will then receive a direct payment in that amount, either by direct deposit or paper check. Under Department of Education guidance, the university may not apply the grant to your balance owed, even with your permission and request to do so.
Is other financial support available to students at this time?
Temple is supporting students in need of financial aid relief in numerous ways. All students, regardless of CARES Act grant eligibility, are able to apply for emergency assistance, and may do so through the programs listed below.
Please note that the Cherry Pantry continues to be open and operational at its temporary location in the Temple University Police Morgan Hall Substation at 1601 N. Park Ave., located on the side of Morgan Hall South.
I am a student who received an emergency financial aid grant under section 3504, 18004 or 18008 of the CARES Act for unexpected expenses, unmet financial need or expenses related to the disruption of campus operations on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. Is this grant includible in my gross income?
No. Emergency financial aid grants under the CARES Act for unexpected expenses, unmet financial need or expenses related to the disruption of campus operations on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as unexpected expenses for food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, or childcare, are qualified disaster relief payments under section 139 of the Internal Revenue Code. This grant is not includible in your gross income.
I received an emergency financial aid grant under the CARES Act and used some of it to pay for course materials that are now required for online learning because my college or university campus is closed. Can I claim a tuition and fees deduction for the cost of these materials, or treat the cost of these materials as a qualifying education expense for purposes of claiming the American Opportunity Credit or the Lifetime Learning Credit?
No. Because the emergency financial aid grant is not includible in your gross income, you cannot claim any deduction or credit for expenses paid with the grant including the tuition and fees deduction, the American Opportunity Credit, or the Lifetime Learning Credit. See section 139(h) of the Internal Revenue Code.